World War 2 ended in August of 1945. However many Japanese soldiers who had been stationed in remote island locations either did not get word. So for many years they continued to live as though they were still at war. They could have been living at peace and gone home to their families but instead they continued to live in a state of anxiousness, fear, and anxiety.
Not long ago I read about two soldiers who stepped out of the jungle to surrender sixty years after the war had ended. One of them was 85 years old and the other was 87. Can you imagine living the majority of your life as if you are at war, hiding on an island, when all the while you could have lived at peace?
When I first heard about those poor soldiers, I couldn't help but think about worldly religion and the fact that there are billions of people who are living as though God is at war with them and out to get them. As a result, they spend their life either running from God and hiding, or trying to appease Him in the hopes that He, somehow due to their own works and effort will eventually accept them. They live in fear and anxiety believing that God is an angry enemy bent on their demise. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, they spend much of their time running and hiding from God believing He is their enemy, when in reality He is anything but an enemy. In fact He is at peace with them.
Before we look at Scripture, we are first going to look at two word meanings.
Have you ever used the words conciliate and conciliation in conversation? What about the words reconcile and reconciliation?
Reconciliation is what takes place when two people or groups who had been estranged from one another reach a point where whatever had torn them apart is set aside by both parties and they come back together.
Conciliation is a bit different.
Have you ever heard of one party wanting the relationship to be restored, going out of their way to make that point to the other, doing whatever they could possibly do to no longer be estranged, yet the other side doesn't accept it? Perhaps they believe that the actions taken by the other were not sincere. Or perhaps they simply can't let go of whatever happened in the past, therefore they refuse to reciprocate.
One side is ready and willing for the relationship to be healed and whole but the other side isn't, therefore they are not reconciled. The first party is conciliated toward the other, they are more than ready for restoration to take place, but restoration can only take place when the other party is conciliated toward them. When both sides conciliate restoration takes place. Make sense?
The point being, one side can be at peace with the other, yet because the other side for whatever reason doesn't believe it or won't accept it they continue to live at odds with the other when all the while they could be living at peace in a reconciled relationship.
My friend, God is at peace with you, whether you believe it yet or not. The cross of Calvary where Christ Jesus bled and died is a proof of that conciliation. Peace has been made through the cross. I encourage you to begin living in that reality.
Take a look at these verses from the Apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5 verses 18-21.
"Yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation, how that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the conciliation. For Christ, then, are we ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. We are beseeching for Christ's sake, 'Be conciliated to God!' For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him."
The cross of Christ was God proving or demonstrating His heart of conciliation toward all humanity. The message we are to take to the world is the message of this conciliation. We are to encourage others to be conciliated toward God so that reconciliation will take place and they can begin to live in peace resting in the grace of God.
If we miss the point that God was conciliating the world to Himself through the cross, not reckoning their offenses to them, I believe we are missing a key element of the Evangel and diminishing the work of Christ.
Please take a few moments to once more slowly and carefully read the God inspired words of the Apostle Paul above.
James Flanders in an Arizona native who spent much of his life thinking God was at war with him, missing the message that peace had truly been made through the cross of Calvary and the good news was better than he imagined.